How to make kibbeh

Flavours of home is a series of recipes from around the world cooked by people at home in Otago. This week Afife Harris, from Lebanon, shows us how to make kibbeh.

Afife Harris' kibbeh

For the stuffing:

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled
1/2 kg minced meat for the filling
1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)

For the kibbeh:
1 medium onion
pinch black paper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp basil, dry or fresh
1 tsp marjoram, dry or fresh
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped mint or 3 Tbsp dry mint
3 Tbsp cumin
2 spring onions
1 kg minced meat lamb (or beef)
1/2 kg burghul (see tip below)

Afife Harris came to Dunedin in 1990 with her husband and family.

She loves the food she grew up with and sells Lebanese specialties at the Otago Farmers Market.

Kibbeh is a dish made with lamb or beef, burghul, pine nuts or onions.

It's rather like stuffed patties or a meat loaf and the little kibbeh can be served as mezze (starter or nibble) or the larger, baked kibbeh as a main dish with a salad.

It's popular in the Middle East and can be eaten fried, baked or even raw.

Preheat the oven to 180degC

Soak the burghul in hot water for 10 minutes or cold water for 15.

To make the kibbeh:

Put the other onion, roughly chopped, and one or two spring onions in a food-processor with the cumin, cinnamon, cloves, basil, marjoram, nutmeg, mint and salt and process until well chopped and mixed.

Remove from processor and put in the 1kg of mince.

Process until it becomes paste.

You may have to do this in two or three batches.

Mix in the burghul and add the onion, herb and spice mixture.

Mix everything together well.

Make the kibbeh stuffing:

Dice two onions.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onions in it.

Add pine nuts if using.

Add the 500g minced meat and stir to break it up.

Cook well and season with salt.

Put aside while you make the kibbeh.

To make a tray of kibbeh:

Grease a baking dish with vegetable oil.

Divide the kibbeh in two.

Spread one half in the bottom of an oiled baking dish.

Spread the stuffing over the top.

Cover with the remaining kibbeh paste and spread evenly over the top.

Cut into 5cm diamonds.

Drizzle olive oil evenly over the top.

Bake for 35 minutes at 180degC.

Serve with salad.

This will make two trays of kibbeh and will serve about 20 people.

To make small kibbeh:

Shape the spiced meat paste into small balls, about 5cm in diameter.

Hollow out the centre of each ball with your index finger by pressing around the inside of the ball to make a shell about 6mm thick.

Put in a little of the stuffing and close up the opening by pushing the edges together, forming long dumplings.

Cook in olive oil over medium heat until brown all over and crisp.


Burghul is also known as burgul and bulgar.

It is made from wheat grains that have been boiled, then dried and ground and has a slightly nutty flavour.

It is widely used in Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking and can be found in good supermarkets.

Before food-processors made the preparation easy, the finely chopped meat had to be pounded into a paste with a mortar and pestle.



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